Every year, for my birthday, I give myself a present. In 2015, I gave myself permission to ask….
I began writing essays and grassfed recipes and posting them to my website shortly after Saoirse was born in 2003. Since that time, I’ve lost count of how many essays I’ve written, and I never tried to count the number of recipes. Now, every week, thousands of readers return to this site to learn about cooking grassfed meat, to ponder a different way of life, to seek inspiration on their own alternative paths, to find courage to make changes in their lives. Every year, hundreds of grassfed farmers print off my recipes to share with customers so that their cooking experiences will be positive. At farmers’ markets across the country, customers stand and read over farmers’ dog-eared copies of my books, snapping photos of recipes with their iPhones. Every week my essays are read throughout North America, as well as in South America, the Middle East, Europe, Australia and Asia. The essays are bundled into collected anthologies and published, they are distributed in college classrooms. They are printed off and handed around, forwarded through email, reposted on Facebook. They are read by lawmakers, by the media, and by people like you, who dream of a sustainable future, where family, community, spirit, justice and the health of the planet are at the soul of every life choice. They are read, quoted and distributed by the radical left, by ardent libertarians, by the conservative right, by militant centrists.
I am not paid for any of this.
I am regularly approached with opportunities to “monetize” my blog. I’ve been offered advertising income by companies seeking to reach folks who match my “reader profile.” I’ve been offered money to post 3rd party “guest blogs” that promote certain products in their text.
I ignore them. That’s not what you want. That’s not what I’m about.
But even after accounting for the sale of books, it costs me over $10,000.00 per year to maintain the blog.
I don’t want advertising. I don’t want to put my writing behind a wall and charge for subscriptions. I want my online posts to continue to be free for all. This is my contribution to the collective consciousness. Sharing with you feeds my soul.
But I have a family to take care of, too. And I would like to experience the pleasure of being remunerated for my creative effort.
Blogging or Farming?
Yes, the farm feeds us. But when I am producing for the blog, I am not producing for the farm. And that eats away at our bottom line. While some of our farm customers might become blog patrons (please? pretty please?) our 500 farm customers cannot be expected to subsidize the cost of this blog for the thousands upon thousands of readers who use it. If I did that, Sap Bush Hollow food would become prohibitively expensive, or we would have to expand our production beyond what is sustainable.
On my family’s farm, we grow, make and sell products. But these weekly essays are not products. They are my art, created in communion with you, my readers. They represent our direct relationship. There is no publisher coming between us, making money on my craft, separating me from you, charging you a fee to access my work.
And so, I am asking you directly to help me keep going. Many of you who read this are not in a position to patronize my work. But many of you are. And those of you who are in a position to throw a few dollars my way are making my writing available for everyone else. Your dollars are helping me to do what I love to do. And your dollars are helping to cultivate change through the power of generosity.
Here is how it works.
Below you see two different buttons, one for donations, and one for patronage. The donation button lets you make a one time gift using your credit card through PayPal. If you’ve liked a story, or maybe you’ve reprinted something elsewhere, or you just want to help keep the work going, tossing in any amount using that button will go a long way. A few bucks here and there by many people makes a big difference in my monthly bank account.
And then, there’s the other button. The one that says “become a patron.” These are the folks who keep me writing all year long, even when farm sales and the blog are quiet in the depths of winter. If you can become a patron, using that button will bring you to a special website, Patreon, where you can use your credit cards to give me a repeating monthly donation in any amount. As you’ll see, patrons do qualify for some special gifts and opportunities. These folks are also helping me to work toward my long-term writing and outreach goals. Patrons are my partners in carrying my work farther into the world, without the heft of corporate media to push me along.
Whichever button you choose, I hope you click on one of them. Because I need your help to keep this work going.
There. I’ve asked.
You are welcome to say no.
My ask is not conditional. I will keep writing. My creative work is my gift to you. But if you are able to make a gift back, then thank you.